As new life blooms throughout the spring and summer months, regular watering schedules reemerge as well. Unfortunately, approximately half of the United States is experiencing some form of drought. This brings water restrictions and the importance of water conservation for everyone.
If you're wondering how to save water at home, we highlight some of the best ways to reserve this natural resource that are easy enough to teach your kids. Plus, you'll save money on your water bill too!
Easy Tips for Saving Water the Whole Family Can Do
Anyone can save water with some simple strategies, and you can get the whole family involved. Teaching your kids good water practices is not only beneficial to you, it's also excellent for the environment.
The best part is that water conservation for preschoolers, kids, and even teens is the same as water conservation for adults. It's the practice of being conscious about water usage and breaking bad habits along the way! Anyone can become stewards of our environment. Here are some small changes that you and your family can make that will have a big impact:
Take Shorter Showers
Take short showers instead of baths, or try taking shorter showers if you're already in the habit of showering. If kids are old enough, have them take short showers too. Make it easier by setting a timer (give kids a little reward if they beat the shower) or by playing a song, with the goal being that they finish the shower before the song ends.
Think Before Your Water Runs Down the Sink
We waste so much water when washing our hands! Practice turning off the water instead. Teach your kids to wet their hands, turn off the water, get their soap, scrub for 20 seconds, and then turn the sink back on to rinse! The same goes for brushing teeth - don't keep the water running while you brush.
When It's Yellow, Let it Mellow
Flushing the toilet is another big water waster. While not everyone will jump on board, if your kids just go pee, stress that they don't always need to flush. This is especially true for boys who don't use toilet paper for this potty visit. Also, stop using the toilet as a trash receptacle! Remind your kids to put tissues in the trash, not the toilet.
Work Smarter, Not Harder When Washing Dishes
A lot of times, people will scrub dishes with the water running. Instead, soak dishes in soapy water. This takes out the work and lessens the amount of water needed to rinse the dishes.
Also, if dishes require hand washing, turn off the water when cleaning the items. Only turn on the water when it's time to rinse. These are great practices to teach older kids as they're learning to help with this household chore.
Think about your daily dishes as well. Don't get a new bowl for every snack or a new cup for every drink. Reuse items throughout the day and only run the dishwasher when it is full.
Be Strategic With Outdoor Watering
When you water during the peak heating hours of the day, a good portion of the liquid evaporates. That is why the early morning and late evening hours are the best time to do this job. When kids are in charge of outdoor tasks, make sure they know that the time they water matters.
Washing fruits or veggies? Put a stopper in the sink and reuse the water on indoor and outdoor plants when you get done.
Change How You Do Laundry
If you aren't doing a full laundry load, you're wasting water. Remind your kids that if they want things done, they need to be proactive about asking for items in advance. For instance, if they need their jersey cleaned ahead of time, they need to ask before the day of the game. Additionally, just like with the dishes, re-wear clothing items that aren't dirty and use towels multiple times before putting them in the hamper.
Adjust Your Summer Fun
We all love a good water fight, but these games can bring a lot of waste. One easy way to implement water conservation for kids is to change up their summer activities. Challenge them to give up the water guns and water balloons this summer. Also, if they play in a kiddy pool, once the fun is done, have them water the plants in the yard with what's left in the pool!
Use Xeriscaping Principles This Spring
What is xeriscaping? It is essentially gardening smarter! While most people think this practice means adding rocks to their garden, the real intent of this landscape design is to make your gardens conservative in terms of their water needs. Most notably, all of these changes are tasks that your kids can help to complete.
- Put mulch in your gardens and at the base of your trees.
- Before heading to the nursery to pick out your plants for spring, research native plants in your region. These normally require less water and can handle the typical climate in your region.
- Once you make your plant selection, position plants with similar watering needs together
- Check sprinkler heads for leaks and replace damaged parts - this is a great opportunity to let your kids play in the sprinklers!
Set Up a Rain Barrel as a Family
This can be a great weekend project for the family and it will save you money on your watering bill! The process is simple. Set up your rain barrel and as it fills up, have your kids help you water your indoor and outdoor plants using this recycled resource.
Hold a Handwashing Challenge
Did you know that you use approximately four gallons of water every time you wash your hands? That is 64 eight-ounce glasses of water that runs straight down the drain! Challenge your kids to make a change by teaching them how little water they actually need to do this regular task. This can be accomplished by banning the use of the faucet for a day.
Instead, grab two gallon jugs of water at the store and have your kids wash their hands using this limited water source. When you think about it, all you have to do is wet your hands and rinse. The amount of water required is minimal. This is a great visual to help them understand their waste.
If you have the means, also consider making meaningful updates to your home. WaterSense certified products like toilets, shower heads, and sink faucets are more water-efficient and can lessen your usage in the long run.
Get Your Kids Excited About Saving Water
Now that you know some great ways to conserve water, how do you get your kids excited about actually doing them?
Parents can motivate their kids to save water at home by making their very own water conservation BINGO! Use our free blank printable cards to list out the different water conservation tasks. The more BINGOs they get, the bigger their prize can be!
Read to Your Kids About Water Conservation
Another great way to help your kids understand the importance of conserving water is to read about it! Books like Why Should I Save Water?, One Well: The Story of Water on Earth, and We Need Water all talk about the importance of this valuable resource and the impact that saving it can have on the world. This can help your kids better understand the purpose behind saving water in the home.
Make Drinking Water More Exciting
Would your child pour chocolate milk or Coca-Cola down the drain? We didn't think so! If you make water more enticing to drink, your kids may be less inclined to waste it. Now, this may seem like an impossible task, but it's actually quite easy! Parents can infuse their water with fruits, vegetables, and herbs, elevate their drinking experience with fun drink ware and accessories, and they can make water-based popsicles for a fun and tasty treat!
Water Conservation for Kids Begins by Setting an Example
If you want your kids to conserve water, then you need to practice what you preach. Set an example and make small changes in your daily habits. Remember that just like New Year's resolutions, too much change at once normally leads to certain goals falling by the wayside. Instead, sit down with your kids and plan out one or two changes to make each month. This can keep you on track and help you prioritize making long-term changes for the future.